Elation at local school as alum Kearse heads to Super Bowl

LAKEWOOD, Wash. - In a short time, Jermaine Kearse has made a name for himself as a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks. But his former Lakes High School football coach knew early on this young man was special.

"I told people when he came out of high school that he would have a great NFL career. I thought he'd have a long 10- or 12-year career," said coach Dave Miller.

Miller says Kearse's strong work ethic and determination set the three-sport high school athlete apart from his peers.

"We came in from Day 1 he was driven to succeed - listen to his coaches and teachers and was very respectful. Always focused," Miller said.

As Kearse and his teammates prepare for the national stage his memorabilia is enshrined at his alma mater, showing his success as a Lancer, Husky and now a Seahawk.

"We're excited, but we're like, 'Wow! I know him.' Like hey, I could say 'hi' to him on the street, and he'd say 'hi' back to me," Kearse's former teacher Nanette Jimenez said.

After graduating from the University of Washington, Kearse was an undrafted free agent. He persevered and made the team.

Miller says that challenge and adversity has resonated with young athletes following in Kearse's footsteps. Last summer he returned to his high school practice field to inspire the next generation of Lakes Lancers.

"He did what he was told ... and it worked out for him. So it's different from somebody that I have no idea who he is telling me to do things. It's different when Jermaine comes here," says Caleb Lyons, Lakes High School senior football captain.

If and when Kearse gets the ball next Sunday you can bet the Lakes Lancers will be rooting for their hometown boy.

"I think I'm going to be jumping up and down. I'm not a real big football watcher," Jimenez said. "But because Jermaine is on the team it makes me watch a game that I might not have necessarily watched."

As they say: Once a Lancer, always a Lancer.